Budget phones just keep getting better and better.
When you think of budget phones, Motorola is probably the first name that comes to mind, but there are two other companies you should be paying attention to. Honor and Nokia have been making great affordable phones for a while now, and the Honor 7X and Nokia 6 are perfect examples.
Sitting in the range of $200, both phones offer a lot of bang for your buck, with attractive designs and different software experiences — but that just raises the question, which one is right for you?
What the Honor 7X does better
The Honor 7X is the new kid on the block, with a slick all-metal unibody design and an 18:9 display. It's certainly the more modern-looking of the two phones, and it's been outfitted with newer, more powerful specs.
The Honor 7X packs a faster processor and a design more fitting of 2018.
While the RAM configuration is the same on both phones, at 3 to 4GB depending on the particular model, the Honor 7X features a Kirin 659 processor, which easily outpaces the Snapdragon 430 found in the Nokia 6. The result is noticeably faster performance; where we found the Nokia 6 sluggish, the Honor 7X rarely trips up outside of graphics-intensive games.
The Honor 7X wins out yet again in camera performance. Not only does its camera outperform that of the Nokia 6 ... but there are two of them. Well, okay, the second sensor is only 2MP and serves to measure depth for portrait mode shots, but the Honor 7X has still been a better overall shooter in our testing.
One area you'll want to be wary of is the Honor 7X's software. EMUI is a fairly polarizing software experience that, while not necessarily bad, is considerably different from the versions of Android that most people are familiar with. It's improved in recent years with EMUI 8, but the Honor 7X is still running the older version 5.1. If you're looking for latest, greatest software experience ... this just isn't it.
What the Nokia 6 does better
Despite the Honor 7X winning out in most hardware aspects, the Nokia 6 is still no slouch. Though both phones are built with aluminum, only the Nokia 6 features chamfered edges, creating an attractive premium aesthetic. It also offers stereo speakers that far surpass the tinny unit on the Honor 7X, combining its earpiece with a bottom-firing speaker.
You'll also find much cleaner software on the Nokia 6, which bears an almost completely stock build of Android 7.1.1 Nougat, save for a few pre-installed apps from Amazon. Even better, HMD Global (the company in charge of Nokia's mobile division) has promised an update to Android 8.0 soon, making the Nokia 6 one of the cheapest ways to experience Oreo.
The Nokia 6 falls a bit behind, but a newer model is coming to close the gap.
Something to be aware of is that a new version of the Nokia 6 will be available in the coming months, refreshing the specs while maintaining the same general design. Though the RAM and storage configurations remain the same, the 2018 refresh will move to a much faster Snapdragon 630 processor. It also moves the fingerprint sensor to the back, ditches the capacitive buttons, and upgrades from microUSB to USB-C — though it retains the more traditional 16:9 aspect ratio, for better or worse.
Which one's right for you?
Which phone you should buy ultimately comes down to your software preferences and quickly you need to upgrade. If you don't mind using an older build of EMUI, the Honor 7X beats out the Nokia 6 in a lot of important ways, from specs to camera performance and battery life. The 18:9 aspect ratio also gives it a newer look and feel, and the rounded back makes it more comfortable to hold.
Get the Honor 7X now; get the Nokia 6 later.
That could all change with this year's updated Nokia 6, though. The newer processor, combined with a clean build of Android Oreo, could make the 2018 Nokia 6 faster and more power efficient than the Honor 7X, and the move to USB-C means that you'll be able to share chargers with most people carrying a recent phone or laptop. The new Nokia 6 will also feature Android One, guaranteeing fast updates to the latest version of Android.
The Honor 7X and Nokia 6 are both fantastic phones for the money, and without official US pricing on the 2018 Nokia 6, it's hard to say how it'll compare in terms of value, but at $200 and $229 respectively, you should buy the Honor 7X for now.
Which would you choose?
With all of that in mind, are you buying the Honor 7X or holding off for the refreshed Nokia 6? We'd love to know — drop a line in the comments below.